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Blog post image 21

Mountain Madness welcomes new guides for the summer season!

This May, Moun­tain Mad­ness wel­comed me and nine oth­er new guides and appren­tices to their guide train­ing; essen­tial­ly an epic climb­ing road trip focused on guide devel­op­ment. Mod­eled sim­i­lar­ly to the Mad­ness Alpine Climb­ing Course, the train­ing cov­ered glac­i­er and rock skills, cul­mi­nat­ing with alpine climb­ing objectives. 

Begin­ning on Mount Bak­er, we prac­ticed teach­ing glac­i­er trav­el skills and crevasse res­cue. Our time there con­clud­ed with short rop­ing each oth­er up the Roman Wall to the sum­mit and a ski descent! In Leav­en­worth we drilled in the intri­ca­cies of guid­ing groups in mul­ti­p­itch ter­rain. Apply­ing our hard work and new knowl­edge, we guid­ed each oth­er up clas­sic routes at Cas­tle Rock. Our train­ing crescen­doed with two days of mock guid­ing alpine lines in Wash­ing­ton Pass. 
Before good­byes, we each shared an image or moment that stood out to us on the eight days we spent togeth­er on this won­der­ful climb­ing road trip. I’d like to share some of those images and moments with you and invite you to join us on our guides training. 
Low­er Cole­man Glac­i­er, Mount Bak­er: Dur­ing our crevasse res­cue prac­tice, we stop in awe at the mas­sive chunks of ice cleav­ing off the cliff side to our left. Every twen­ty min­utes, refrig­er­a­tor sized blocks tum­ble and crash. Its beau­ti­ful when you know it can’t hit you! 
Roman Head­wall, Mount Bak­er: Our instruc­tors sneak up on our side and exclaim, You look so pro!” They were impressed by our neat kiwi coils, good stances, and con­sis­tent taught pres­sure while we short roped our clients’ through tricky steep terrain. 
Com­ing down the Pumice Ridge, Mount Baker
Cole­man Dem­ing Glac­i­er, Mount Bak­er: Our smiles are ear to ear, feel­ing gid­dy, laugh­ing, and whoop­ing! Ski­ing down a moun­tain is by far the best way to fin­ish a climb! 
Cas­tle Rock, Tumwa­ter Canyon: High up on Cas­tle Rock, we look down and watch turkey vul­tures cir­cle the roar­ing riv­er. The day is sun­ny, the air smells of pine, and we get to rock climb! 
South Arête, South Ear­ly Win­ter Spire, Wash­ing­ton Pass: We are prac­tic­ing short rop­ing again! This time the rock is slip­pery and the small trees along the route are accu­mu­lat­ing sev­er­al inch­es of snow. The clouds wan­der­ing through the rock spires and occa­sion­al­ly envelop­ing us makes the whole day feel extra alpine! 
Just below the sum­mit of Lib­er­ty Bell, Wash­ing­ton Pass
Lib­er­ty Bell, Wash­ing­ton Pass: Some­how the rock has dried for our final assess­ment. Each of us have a por­tion we are respon­si­ble for: the approach, ascent, or descent, on three dif­fer­ent routes: The Becky Route (5.6), Rap­ple Grap­ple (5.8) and The Girl Next Door (5.9). We all sum­mit and cel­e­brate our suc­cess and the 360 degree views of crag­gy, snow cov­ered peaks. Grin­ning ear to ear again, we test each oth­er’s boot ski­ing skills as we run, slide, and glide back to the cars. 
The guide train­ing at Moun­tain Mad­ness left me feel­ing con­fi­dent guid­ing in rock, glaciat­ed, and alpine ter­rain and pre­pared to teach our clients the skills they need to be suc­cess­ful. I was sad when our climb­ing road trip end­ed, but real­ly, it is just the begin­ning of many moun­tain adven­tures with my fel­low guides and clients in the North Cascades! 
- Amber Smith